Rome

Italy took a few trips, but it’s finally growing on me. This trip took us to Rome, a history-rich city(or cities, depending on how you look at it), with more than enough to keep you busy for a few days, if not longer depending on which lines you want to wait in. That said, we got pretty lucky this trip.

I was a bit worried about travelling at 6+ months pregnant and hearing about all of the lines to get in to the Vatican and other Rome attractions, especially on the “Free” day we happened to be present for. We like to walk everywhere when on holiday, which was fine with me, but when you pair that with waiting in lines and being pregnant, I figured it would be a bit much. The free day ended up being a slew of people all over and a mess of lines waiting to get into the Colosseum, which ended up being a blessing in disguise. I ended up asking an employee what each line was for, and I was luckily still wearing my UK “Baby on Board” button. As soon as he noticed that, he sent us to the group entrance, which was absolutely empty. 3 hour wait for the other lines? Gone. Talk about luck of the Irish!

The Colosseum was one of the main sights I wanted to see, as I had previously build a styrofoam replica in grade school and wanted to see the real thing in person. It was very surreal standing inside of it and looking down into the basement chambers where the floor no longer existed. We were able to go up to the higher levels as well, and the view down was just amazing. You could almost hear the cheers from the crowds hundreds of years ago, still echoing throughout.

The Vatican was at the top of the list for Joe, and after this trip we can both officially say we’ve walked the entire perimeter of a city. Accidentally. And wow, is it a hilly walk. Workout for the day done after that, but there’s no rest for the wicked. That was just the beginning for us. By the time we got back to the entrance, we were several miles in for the day and too exhausted to consider waiting in the real line to get into the Sistine Chapel, so we got speedy-entry passes and walked right in. They’re really good at tricking you though. You think you’re going to walk right into the Sistine, but nope! You get the walk all. the. way. through. the. museum. Absolutely gorgeous, but one of the longest places I’ve walked through. Oh- and if you go through whilst pregnant, just don’t drink anything for a few hours prior or you’re going to regret it. Just saying… The whole baby sitting on your bladder thing doesn’t pair well with no toilets until the end of the museum.

Anyway! We finally managed to get to the Sistine, and spent a good bit of time siting and following the story drawn on the ceiling, including a bit of googling to verify just what everything meant. The level of detail was astounding and seeing it was very moving, even for someone who’s not religious like myself.

We also spent sometime walking around the Vatican City, but it was overrun with street tour dealers that just wouldn’t leave you alone. They were all over and I’m pretty sure “no” and “go away” don’t exist in their vocabularies. Needless to say, we got fed up pretty quickly and started walking back to towards the hotel taking the long route so we could see several of the other things on the list.

What about food, you ask? Of course, how could I possibly leave that out of a trip to Italy! Most of it was actually pretty basic, I’m sorry to report. We had to indulge in the pizza, pasta and gelato every day, but only one restaurant really stood out among the rest. The last night we were there, Joe found a diner-esque place that had Route 66 and American decor plastered on the walls and an energy to it that’s rivalled by none. A great pick for our last night there, with prices that meant we could share a bunch of dishes and still spend less than any other given dinner during that trip. I think we ate our weight that night. But, it’s Italy, right? And you can’t forget the huge gelato bowls that followed. It’s a good thing we walked 10+ miles that day!

3 days down, and time to head to Athens, Greece for the second leg of the adventure!